Fetal distress, or non-reassuring fetal status, occurs during pregnancy or labor when oxygen levels in the uterus fall below normal. Signs of fetal distress include early labor pains, decreased movement in the womb and breathing troubles.
Without detection and attention from qualified medical professionals, fetal distress and birth injury can result in several life-altering complications.
Cerebral palsy (CP) refers to a cluster of movement disorders that can appear in early childhood for children who experience birth trauma. The signs and symptoms of CP include weak muscles, tremors and poor coordination. Additionally, patients may have difficulties with vision, speech and hearing due to a CP diagnosis.
Damage to the brain and central nervous system can lead to neurodevelopmental disorders that affect emotions, learning, self-control and memory functions as a child grows. Common conditions resulting from birth injuries include:
- Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Learning disorders (dyslexia or dyscalculia)
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Intellectual development disorder (IDD)
Increased mortality risk
Labor complications can make delivery difficult. Some signs of fetal distress may prompt doctors to perform emergency c-sections, which increases the risk of birth injuries, Additionally, insufficient fetal oxygen or intrauterine hypoxia can lead to preeclampsia, which is potentially fatal to the mother and baby if not treated in time.
You trust your medical team to safely get you and your baby through labor and delivery. Failure to properly diagnose and treat fetal distress may constitute medical malpractice and can mean a lifelong struggle for your newborn.